I am probably most famous as a stick, although I have recently been seen in Buffalo plating down with chicken parts. I all started when my wild ancestors were cultivated in the 16th century. Once considered a powerful aphrodisiac my leaves were used by the Greeks to adorn the crown presented to victorious athletes. These stars also drank my wine. Romans used me for seasoning and as an elixir to aid digestion and soothe arthritic pain. Medieval magicians put my seeds in their shoes, hoping it would help them fly, but alas, they did not. We never made that claim. I am a fleshy ribbed stalk that ranges in color from white to dark green. Lately, I have been seen down at South Beach stylin' in red. My stalk, that can grow up to 16 inches, is my most popular part, my leaves, seeds, and roots are also used. My most popular variety was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 1874. I was socialized at local Michigan train stations throwing myself at passengers for free. My fame really came in 1960 at a Chicago where I was immortalized by bartenders. When Sears and Roebuck featured me as a muscle relaxer in their catalog, I went viral. Today, scientists agree that eating two of me a day will help reduce blood pressure. My crunch is created by the collapse of my thousands of air filled cells. There are over two billion pounds of us produced every year, and that's just the United States. I am used in just about anything savory. There is no stock made without me. Tomato Juice is one of my best friends. I am a very popular salt. Nary has a crudite existed without me and I'm not saying a word about what we did with the chickens but I will say the press has it wrong. It was cold up there, and, well, things happen. Anyway the average person consumes about eight pounds of me a year. I am an excellent source of potassium and a good source of vitamin C, folic acid and vitamin B6. Crunch on!
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Culinary Specialty Produce
"We Follow Orders"
The answer to last week's quiz: ROMAINE LETTUCE
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